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Kulbhushan Jadhav Case: ICJ to Hear India's Plea Against Death Penalty Today

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will begin hearing India's plea - seeking an immediate suspension of the death penalty awarded to its national Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court in Pakistan - at 1:30 PM Indian Standard Time (IST) on Monday.

Maha Siddiqui | News18.com

Updated:May 15, 2017, 11:00 AM IST
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New Delhi: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will begin hearing India's plea—seeking an immediate suspension of the death penalty awarded to its national Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court in Pakistan—at 1:30 PM Indian Standard Time (IST) on Monday.

ALSO READ | Jadhav Case: India and Pakistan to Face-off in ICJ Today

The military court had sentenced Jadhav to death on charges of "espionage and subversive activities" on April 10, 2017. Senior counsel Harish Salve will represent India at the ICJ headquarters in the Hague. Pakistan will present its arguments at 6:30pm IST.

ALSO READ | Jadhav Case: India's Petition to ICJ Rides on 'Denial to Consular Access'

India has acknowledged Jadhav as a former Navy Officer and a Mumbai-based businessman, who was picked up from Iran; Pakistan, on the other hand, says that he was arrested from Balochistan.

In its plea that India moved on May 8, it contends that the entire sequence of events was in "egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations", and it was not informed about Jadhav's arrest for a very long time.

India, in its petition to the UN body, also said that Pakistan, despite repeated efforts, had denied India its right of consular access to Jadhav. India also pointed out that it learned about the death sentence against Jadhav from a press release.

ALSO READ | 18 Years On, Kulbhushan Jadhav Case Brings India, Pak to Hague Battleground

India seeks from ICJ an order, restraining Pakistan from giving effect to the death sentence and annulling the decision of the military court. India also pointed out that Jadhav's execution "would cause irreparable prejudice to the rights claimed by India".

Pakistan, however, asserts that domestic law and not Vienna Convention will be followed in Jadhav's case, and the consular access can be denied if the national security is at risk.

The last case between India and Pakistan at the ICJ was related to the shooting down of Pakistan's maritime reconnaissance aircraft Atlantique by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the Kutch region on August 10, 1999, killing all 16 naval personnel on board. Pakistan claimed the plane was brought down in its air space and sought $60 million in damages from India for the incident.

On Monday, Pakistan could cite the aforementioned case in which India had refused to accept the court’s jurisdiction on the pretext that the court could not hear cases related to disputes between the Commonwealth countries.

India has taken Pakistan to ICJ based on the fact that they are both signatories to the Optional Protocol concerning compulsory settlement of disputes. India hopes to draw a distinction between ICJ's jurisdiction based on the Atlantique case and the Jadhav one, based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

ALSO READ | Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav? All You Need to Know About Him

Yateesh Begoore, a lawyer specializing in public international law who lives in New York, told News18 that a provisional measure (which is, in some aspects, similar to “stay” under domestic law) can only be ordered by a bench of the ICJ sitting to hear the request for indication of provisional measures filed by India under article 41 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice – this has not happened.

"Once the provisional measures are issued, whether Pakistan is willing to violate an order of ICJ, and risk being an international pariah, is a political decision which will be made in Islamabad," he said.

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